Review by Ben:
My puppy outgrew a Grreat Choice 28″ crate he shipped in from the breeder. That crate is really 24″ deep inside. He’s too small for this Giant crate now so I filled some of it with a Rubbermaid Roughneck bin. My dog is expected to grow to 27″ at the whithers with fairly square overall proportions. I was reluctant to get such a large crate because Petmate suggests this size is appropriate for Great Danes, Saint Bernards, and Bull Mastiffs. My dog will not be that big rather just slightly exceed the standard for a German Shepherd. Petmate’s label also suggests this crate is for dogs 34″ to the top of the head. Well, Great Dane dogs need to be 30″ at the whithers so they would be ducking to get in there. This would be a suitable to transport a giant dog for a short time but it’s too small for regular use with a dog 30″ or more at the shoulders. If your dog is going to be 26″-28″ at the whithers, it’s probably the right size for regular use.
Because my dog is not a Great Dane, I wondered at first if I shouldn’t get a 40-42″ crate instead but I read some people’s comments that those crates were a little cramped for their dogs of a similar size to what I expect mine to grow to. Since my dog has already learned not to soil his crate in the smaller one and this will be his crate for maturity, I don’t regret possibly erring on the larger size.
These plastic dog crates, when they’re the appropriate size, are great for housebreaking a puppy. By “housebreaking” I mean not only training them to soil outside only but also to keep them out of the trouble they would get into if they had free run of the house, and to teach them calmness and a lower level of activity is expected indoors. It gives them a safe, private space that is free of stress when they need to eat or rest. Combined with an expen and/or puppy gates, it can help a puppy become a house dog.
This one is obviously not a puppy crate for most dogs but for people with large dogs it provides them a good indoor dog house or “den.” It also provides some of the means necessary for safe transportation by car or airplane (although I haven’t tried to fly with a crate this big and I’m not familiar with possible restrictions, I am sure this crate is designed to meet airline specifications with some modifications that may include drilling vent holes on the back, drilling tie down holes on the corners, possibly replacing the plastic nuts with metal ones for certain airlines, and of course providing live animal stickers, as well as food and water dishes.)
The other options out there are the wire dog crates and the extruded and sheet aluminum or steel crates. The wire crates have their drawbacks — they let dog mess (fur, dirt, soil etc) out more easily, the dog can pull stuff into the crate more easily (nearby household items), dogs can get parts caught between the wires more easily, they’re noisier and less private, and they have a reputation for being more easily escaped (no personal experience with that). Only the crates made with extruded and sheet metals are really “escape proof” because there is no plastic to chew through and no wire to bend out of shape and the latch mechanisms are robust. They’re quite expensive though(we’re talking four to ten times more expensive than this one).
I’m getting ready to buy a second one of these crates for my truck. I certainly don’t want to move the one in and out of the house all the time. These things are huge and quite heavy. The weight and bulk combine to make these things difficult to handle for one person. I’m hestitating again because this thing is really going to fill a lot of my eight foot truck bed. I looked at 40-42″ crates again because my dog might be comfortable enough in that size for the shorter durations of travel and it would save some space for bicycles, the bike trailer, luggage, camping equipment, ice chests, bins, and boxes of other stuff we’re always taking along (We sure could use a bus!)
Amazon was competitive on this crate with the two big pet warehouse stores when shipping and taxes are factored in. The warehouse store in my town actually has the crate in stock but at a price 25% higher than their online price with shipping. I guess they want a premium for stocking these huge items at their retail outlets.
Amazon shipped the crate in a single wall box in which it scarcely fit with no further packaging. The box had popped open by the time it arrived. The crate itself is fairly durable and there was no apparent damage.
The crate is built very much like the smaller Petmate plastic crates — it’s a plastic clamshell with a wire door. Compared to smaller crates, the plastic is thicker and the four-point rotating latch on the door is unique although it’s available on large and extra large crates also. The door is not a precision fit. The wire axis pivots in a well-hole molded in the plastic. Because the opening is so large, there is a platic lip that supports the door when it is in the closed position (otherwise it would hang loose because the door frame is not rigid enough). The latch mechanism suffers a little from the sloppiness in the door’s fit. One has to make sure all four wire pins are aligned with their holes before the door can be fully latched. Opening is straightforward though.
This crate is dark inside — and my dog is all black. He doesn’t mind it and may actually like it that way but it sure is hard to see him in there. My wife said one time she was talking to his backside without even realizing it! A guess a wire crate would let more light in but that’s not always preferable. The dog sees the bright room outside his crate just fine, so it’s really more about how well we see him.
Considering the cost of these crates which includes a considerable amount just to ship these huge things around on trucks, I think they’re quite cost-effective. Only the wire crates compare in this price range and for both my truck and home they would need some kind of pad to sit on and a non-chewable cover to keep the wind, noise and extraneous stimuli out.
I rate these well worth consideration because plastic crates may be the most cost-effective and best solution for many people and their dogs, and these are some of the best plastic crates available. With that said, some people may prefer wire crates for their specific needs, and others will either be willing or have no choice but to pay up for the aluminum/stainless steel crates. This plastic crate as well as wire crates could easily be destroyed by a powerful 100 pound dog that is determined enough — and yet some dogs will respect even a soft-sided collapsible nylon fabric crate.
Update: I bought a Sky Kennel Ultra Extra Large crate for the truck. Petmate told me that 4 years ago they made a change and the Sky Kennel and Vari Kennel are now the same thing except that most retailers order the Sky Kennel with live animal stickers and food and water dishes. A lot of retailers also order rotating latches for Large and Extra Large Sky Kennels, but standard pinch latches for the Vari-Kennel line. Both are available from Petmate to the retailers. The Giant comes standard with a rotating latch.
I have personally seen the Giant Vari Kennel and this Giant Pet Porter. The only difference is the color. The Sky Kennel version is also identical but may possibly have holes drilled in the back and it would usually come with food and water dishes. The provided dishes are worthless except for meeting regulations.
There are some things I prefer about the Sky Kennel Extra Large crate I have compared to the Giant. There are two feet molded into bottom of the floor to support the floor. The roof has corrugation molded into it to provide some stiffness whereas the Giant versions roof is flat and rather simply thick enough to be rigid. The Extra Large has side grates that slide in between plastic lips whereas the Giant’s side grates are held by clips riveted onto the plastic. The door latch works smoother on the Extra Large. It has joints on the wire pins that maintain better alignment with the holes throughout the rotation of the knob. On the Extra Large, I just close the door and turn the knob and the pins go in the holes every time. With the Giant I have to make sure all four pins align with the holes before I can finish rotating the knob all the way otherwise the pins sometimes hit the plastic even though the holes are elongated (it’s sloppy).
The side rails on the Extra Large have a lip that is molded over the edge whereas on the Giant the plastic comes together in a simple flat sandwich. The Extra Large has molded in tie-down holes on all four corners whereas on the Giant you would have to drill your own (I use the Giant in the house so I don’t have to tie it down).
The Giant is quite a bit larger than the Extra Large. It’s a bigger difference than the numbers make it appear tob e. It’s also about double the weight. I would not want to move the Giant crate around. It’s a beast. But the Extra Large is no more difficult to move in and out of the truck than a large ice chest.
Overall, the Extra Large has a better design in features and I’m happier with it but obviously those design features don’t work when you size up to the Giant scale. If you only need the Extra Large size, it’s a nicer crate at a much lower price (I got it for 0 less than the Giant) but if you need the Giant, this Pet Porter Giant is essentially equivalent to the Vari Kennel Giant and the Sky Kennel Giant — they’re all made the same way.
I now expect my dog to finish out at 27″ and 75 lbs. Because of his size (not weight) I am sure he will appreciate the Giant crate as his place to sleep and eat daily. For travel and occasional use, the Extra Large is the right size for him.